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Snowboard technician Curtis Bacca is the wax whisper at Olympics

Posted by Dan Egan  February 17, 2014 07:31 AM

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Curtis Bacca has been the magic sauce behind gold medals, World Cup wins and X Games champions for two decades as the US Ski and Snowboard technician for big names like, Kyle Rasmussen, Shawn Palmer, and two time Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott.

Bacca is one of the few American-born "wax techs" to have such honors.

Curtis Bacca.jpg

Hailing from Sun Valley, Idaho, where he runs an elite ski and snowboard shop that specializes in high-end race snowboards, he has the reputation of something of a mystic.

"I have won the big races because my boards are fast, and they are fast because Bacca works on them. I don't ask him why, I just know that they are," Wescott said.

Bacca himself can't say for sure what the exact formula is for a quick ski or snowboard, but knows it's a mix between science and technology,

"It's intuitive, just by walking around I can tell by the feel of the snow and the temp in the air what will win on a certain day. When my athletes don't win, I get mad and do more research. I'm testing all the time," Bacca said.

He prides himself on being a "note taker" and knows that after 20 years of World Cup and Olympics racing, his experience is as valuable as the new technology.

"I can remember what wax, what weather, and what conditions won in France in 1992," Bacca said. "And that is the value in being around this for a long time. Certain situations come up and you know what to do with them."

He works on the equipment of Lindsey Jacobellis, who won a silver medal at the 2006 Torino Olympics, has 26 World Cup wins, nine X Games medals (seven gold), and has been dominating the circuit for almost seven straight seasons.

Becca causally waxes, scrapes and prepares test boards for each day.

"We techs share a bit of information, but not too much. It's an individual sport and I want my athletes to win, and win big," Bacca said.

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